The Hygiene Bank Hastings has been supporting The Hastings Trussell Trust Foodbank since the project launched in December 2018. The Foodbank has given out over 370,773 meals in the last 7 years with over half of these have been given out in the last two years and half, since Universal Credit arrived in Hastings. The need for all essential items is high and luckily the Hastings HB Project has been able to step in and help.
“When people use the foodbank we know that as well as not being able to afford food there will be other essential items that they are living without. We are very grateful to the hygiene bank, without whom, we would not be able to provide these toiletries at the volume that we are currently able to. “ Al Wales, Operations Manager
The partnership was initiated and coordinated by Alison Acland, who noticed an increase in poverty in the local area…
How did the Hygiene Bank begin in Hastings?It started in December 2018, I had been reading increasingly more about hygiene poverty in the UK over the previous six months and felt determined to do something in the town where I work.
Being a UK seaside town, Hastings has the typical associated problems now seen across the Country.
These days they are giving out more than a ton of food every week, and they are only open for four hours! Almost 40% of the food they’re giving out is going to children in our area.
A fewmonths ago they helped a woman who had booked a day of annual leave from her job, just soshe could come to them for a desperately-needed food parcel.
Just ponder that for a second… a young woman in a full-time job having to take ‘holiday’ from work so she would have enough food until pay day. And this isn’t a one-off. They’re seeing more and more people come to us who are working, but still can’t make ends meet.
The company I work for in Hastings Chris Knott Insurance, has a professional specialism in the charity/third sector and I wondered whether our staff would be interested in creating an altruist expression of this in the form of a practical project to help our community.
We decided we would start out by partnering with only one charity – with the aim of providing meaningful and regular support. Hastings Foodbank is well established and highly regarded locally; so we approached them, mainly because we knew them well (as clients) but also because the demographic of their service users is wide. It felt appropriate to try and reach people from many different parts of the community at their time of crisis. When we approached they advised that they didn’t have any regular donations of hygiene products and therefore were often unable to offer these to people, who were in desperate need of them.
What are your hopes for the project ? Although, our collection points have slowly increased, sadly we know that there aren’t enough products to meet the real need. Without donations, many in the community wouldn’t have received these important basic items. We are asking individuals and local businesses to donate via our online EASHO Wish list, which lets you know which items are the most crucial. You can add to your basket and then EASHO will get the items to us.
Particularly in the run up to Christmas, it can be a even harder time for those already in crisis, so we rely on our community to step in more than ever.